I would like to introduce Joan Reeves to you today. She found my blog and invited me to be her guest blogger some time ago. This really gave me a lift as I was a brand new blogger at that time.
Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy romance with a chick lit attitude. She is a bestselling eBook author and is also multi-published in print (book-length fiction: regional and national periodicals). Known all over the internet for her freelance writing published under her own name, various pseudonyms, and as a ghost, Joan (http://SlingWords.blogspot.com)
Joan’s motto? “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”
Seven Tips on Writing Nonfiction Inspirational by Joan Reeves.
For the last several years, I’ve judged the Nonfiction Inspirational category for an annual competition sponsored by one of the many writers guilds in Texas. Every year, I notice the same writing issues in just about every manuscript so I wrote some guidelines to help writers who focus on nonfiction – especially inspirational articles and books.
When writing nonfiction inspirational content, the skilled writer knows that using fiction narrative techniques vastly improves the article or blog etc: By this I do not mean to make it fiction, but to employ the tools in the fiction writer’s kit in order to make your nonfiction hook the reader and keep the reader gripped to the story to the end. In other words, you want to create a page turner.
Seven Techniques to Creating Page-Turning Nonfiction
Begin with a strong hook, not a bland statement of fact, time, or date or any of the other prosaic means of telling a true story. A strong hook could be a startling statement followed by a bit of surprising action or it could be a vivid description of something that makes the reader want to know more. Any of the excellent ‘how to write books’ can show you the way.
Make sure your story has a beginning, middle and an end. From the beginning, you should have rising action to the end. This is a story arc and is as important in nonfiction as in fiction. Don’t just lay out fact o wander all over the place. Stick to the story you’re telling and include only those scenes or incidents that support the story you’re telling. If you’re writing about something that happened in a WWII scrap iron drive, don’t throw in something about how rubber was restricted so that people couldn’t easily buy car tires and were forced to keep patching old ones.
Know your premise. With inspirational, your premise should be the insight you gained from an experience. You write to share that with others or to show how a seemingly insignificant incident can change a person and a life. One of the main reasons for writing inspirational is to inspire the reader. So make sure your insight is evident, but do it subtly. When you begin writing, you should know for instance, that you’re writing a story that shows how a kindness from a stranger made you resolve to help others in need or whatever. It’s not the just the experience about which you’re writing; it’s also how that experience affected you.
The structure of a novel, short story, or nonfiction piece is about the same in that you have roughly the first 25% of the manuscript to set things up. Calculate it if you need to. A 10 page manuscript means you have about two and a half pages to set the stage. That’s the length allotted to introducing your characters and the situation, setting the tone, theme, and writing style, describing the setting, etc.
The next 50% should be the development of your premise and the situation, showing the complications the character faced and the resolutions with each complication leading to a worse one until the blackest moment when all seems lost.
The final 25% is when the protagonist rises above all challenges, and figures out a way to resolve the penultimate crisis. Everything gets wrapped up here, and the character learns the truth – the inspiration to pass on to others.
Don’t toss in people who have an effect on the outcome at the very end unless they were previously mentioned or foreshadowed in the beginning. Study a book on fiction technique.
If it’s been a few years since you’ve written anything significant or been in an English class, get a good basic English grammar book and check your skills against it. There are rules that govern the use of commas, sentence construction, etc. Refresh your memory.
Proofread carefully. Better yet, get a friend with a good grasp of grammar to do it also. Misspellings, typos, using the wrong word are easily corrected errors.
In a world where virtually everyone seeks inspiration to achieve goals or to weather difficult times, nonfiction inspirational has a wide appeal so use these techniques to help you improve your skills.
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